Armenia remembered the victims of the genocide amid tension in Nagorno Karabagh and the threat of “ethnic cleansing”

Sister narine She is one of the thousands of Armenian men and women who mobilized this Monday, April 24, to commemorate the victims of the genocide. “It is a day that can never be forgotten”assures Infobae.

Together with a group of priests and other sisters they made the 90 kilometers that separate the capital Yerevan from the city of gyumri, where they work in a center for children. Like Narine, every person in the country ensures that “everyone has a victim of the genocide or the wars in Nagorno Karabagh in their families or in their close circle.”

During the brief minutes that the interview lasts, the group of children in charge of the nun, almost all of them with the Armenian flag hanging on their shoulders, play with each other.

Thousands of Armenians mobilized to pay tribute to the victims of the genocide (KAREN MINASYAN / AFP) (KAREN MINASYAN /)

A few minutes past 12 noon and the flow of people that continues to arrive at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial (“Fortress of the Swallows”) is incessant. It is the most important day of the year for Armenians. Not only the inhabitants of Yerevan come to remember the victims; like Narine, many also move from other parts of the country. It is estimated that each year close to a million people pass through the Memorial from the night of April 23, when the March of the Torches takes place, until the night of the 24th.

The monument is made up of 12 slabs that represent the 12 provinces most affected during the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. Each one is separated by narrow stairs that, almost a meter and a half deep, lead to “the eternal flame”. All around, people lay flowers. Outside there are also dozens of flower arrangements, many of which are sent by those countries that recognize the Armenian genocide.

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Thousands of flowers were placed around the flame at the Yerevan Memorial (Photo: Lucas Goyret)

Among the crowd you can see entire families, adolescents, children, men, women, and even war veterans dressed for the occasion in their military uniforms and, in some cases, with medals hanging on their chests. No one arrives empty-handed; the vast majority deposit even a rose.

Bad weather and intermittent rain were no excuse. The Armenians mobilized like every year. But this was not another year. The drama that the population of Nagorno Karabagh is experiencing due to the blockade imposed by Azerbaijan, and the fear of an imminent outbreak of war as occurred two years ago, exacerbates the population’s need to demand peace. “For us the situation is not safe so far. We constantly pray for peace; We don’t want any more victims.”Narine confesses.

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Men, women and soldiers carry flowers to deposit around the “eternal flame”

Just a few hours before, through a statement on the occasion of the 108th anniversary of the genocide, the government had once again denounced that What Baku seeks is to carry out “ethnic cleansing”: “Unfortunately, today, just like a century ago, the danger of genocidal politics is felt in different parts of the world and the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh face the threat of genocide and ethnic cleansing.”

Mariano Vergara He is the Argentine ambassador in Yerevan. In his capacity as the highest diplomatic authority in the country, he also went to the memorial to leave a flower and accompany the Armenian people on this day of “great significance.” In dialogue with a group of journalists, including infobaedescribed that experience as “shocking”: “That goes very deep into the feelings of Armenian society, because it is a feeling that lasts in the diaspora, but also in the Armenians who are here, who today really They are going through a very difficult time in their history.; I would say almost existential”.

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Many young people and children came to pay tribute to the victims of the genocide carrying the Armenian flag

On how the situation in Nagorno Karabagh impacts on this special date, he commented: “In a certain sense, from 2020 until now, Armenia is a country that continues to live in a state of war. There is a latent state of war that has not ended, and that is felt. The drama of what the defeat in the 2020 war meant for the Armenian people continues to be felt every day by the relatives of the fallen. It is a situation of deep regret that persists, and it worsens as this conflict is not resolved. The Armenian people suffer it and on a date like this even more. It is a date of great distress for all the people.

After passing through the Memorial, many families also move towards the Yerablur military cemetery, where the remains of the fallen in the Nagorno-Karabakh wars are. The tombstones are located one next to the other, without distinction of military ranks. The sector where the fallen in the 2020 war are located is distinguished by the Armenian flags placed on the sides of the tombstones. Flags that flutter strongly during the gray afternoon due to the wind and rain.

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Many families take advantage of this date to go to the Yerablur military cemetery, where the remains of the fallen in the Nagorno Karabakh wars are found.

All the tombstones have their respective floral arrangements and the photos and identifications of the fallen soldiers. Many of them born between 2000 and 2001. That is, young people who at the time of going to war in 2020 were no more than 20 years old. Images that make it impossible not to connect with the pain of those relatives who remain stoic in the rain remembering their loved ones. Images that at this time, in the midst of the Azeri threat, the Armenian people claim not to have to repeat in the near future.

“It is a day for reflection and to continue praying for peace”concluded Narine, who politely asked not to be photographed, before heading back to Gyumri.

Keep reading:

The massacre of the Armenian people, the first genocide of the 20th century that the world silenced for decades and Turkey still denies

Massive Torchlight March in Yerevan to commemorate the 108th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide